Extraordinary politics plays a vital role in getting people involved in public discussions, prodding lethargic public and private bureaucracies, and putting important new issues and dilemmas on the public agenda. As the twentieth century draws to a close, political systems across the globe confront crises of legitimacy, and this worldwide undercurrent of political unease includes the United States. In a provocative manifesto tor judicial activism, Judge Richard Neely offered criteria for judicial activism that also might apply to extraordinary politics. Political action involves what economists call opportunity costs: The attention given one issue detracts from that given to another. The American political system is overloaded; virtually every concern that different groups have makes it onto the agenda of federal, state, and local governments. The most useful recent proposal for restructuring American federalism has come from Alice Rivlin, director of the Office of Management and Budget in the Clinton administration.